It???s teacher bashing time

Image © Rob Gould @ Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

As snow falls across the country, schools have closed for a variety of reasons.  Frustrated parents are quick to blame the teachers (we all need a scapegoat) and discussion forums fill up with comments about lazy teachers.  Too soon the conversation changes from “why can’t they get to school?” to don’t they have enough holidays already.  I’ve even seen suggestions about teachers having inset days in their holidays (which is ironic since inset days did originally come out of teachers holidays).The press feel the need to join in with this teacher bashing, after all appealing to the public sentiment is what sells papers.  As I sat reading the Times today I read an article that made the hairs on the back of my neck bristle.  Not because of the subject of the article but the tone, and the glaring inaccuracies in the article that the times included.The article in question was a small ‘filler’ by their education correspondent Nicola Woolcock.  I managed to track down an online copy of the article here.  Apparently it is far too hard to dismiss incompetent teachers and so-called experts suggest that there could be 24,000 inadequate teachers, although Ms Woolcock declines to say which hat she pulled these figures out of.According to the article heads must give notice before entering the classroom for a formal observation, and can only do so for three times a year.  Of course Ms Woolcock is reporting the current agreed arrangements for performance management, many observations for which are not actually carried out by head teachers.  There is no limit on quality assurance observations which I am aware of, and I know of many heads who walk around schools and pop into lessons to see what is going on without giving notice.Of course there are teachers who experience difficulties.  One of my roles as an AST is to work with some of these teachers in my local authority.  It could be argued that it is difficult to sack incompetent teachers, although I suggest the true story should read it is far too hard to dismiss any incompetent public sector worker.However when I read I was struck by the lack of balance, and the emphasis on bashing teachers rather than on a balance discussion, but a balanced discussion doesn’t sell newspapers does it?

The last ten years ??? where did they go?

Where have the last ten years gone? I remember so clearly the Millennium Street party at my mum’s house, and the turn of the century. It’s hard to believe that the last ten years have passed so quickly! 10 years ago I was single, bouncing from relationship to relationship but now I’ve been in a long-term relationship with my partner for over 9 years. In that time we’ve travelled the world together (well selected parts!), we’ve bought a house together, become proud uncles.

Some things that probably should have changed haven’t. I still aspire to lose some weight (I manage it, then put it back on).  I still don’t read enough books, I watch too much television, I spend too long on the Internet, although it’s hard to believe my internet bill 10 years ago was around £70 a month!

I still work in the same school (although at more than double the salary I started there on) and am still doing a job I love, with a very special and unique group of people.  I’ve rediscovered a love of science teaching since becoming an AST, and this role has allowed me to work with a wide range of professionals from schools across my local authority (and beyond).

What for the next 10 years?

I don’t want to think about the end of the next decade – I’ll be 48 which seems so scary now! Hopefully I’ll be mortgage free, but will I be working full time or part time? That depends on the current educational climate, but with teacher bashing and identical educational policies on both sides of the political fence, the future doesn’t look rosy for teachers!

I know I should move on professionally, but I don’t need more money and there’s a lot to be said for doing a job you like.  I work in a fantastic school with an excellent head who trusts his staff to do the job he asks of them.  Staff have a lot of freedom to get on with their job and innovate, and yet we are a good school with outstanding aspects.  Working in this kind of environment combined with weekly visits into other (usually mainstream) schools puts me off a change in workplace.  I also know that a move up would mean a change in my educational priorities and I wouldn’t be able to focus as much on teaching science, which is the reason I love my job.  I suspect I wouldn’t have as much time to share my ideas and resources with science educators around the world.

Maybe I’ll dust off my NPQH and rejoin the school leadership game, but that would require a change in education culture and I don’t see that happening in the next 10 years.

As for myself, I’d like to see more of the world, but the most important things are to have my health, my friends, my family. I’m ready whatever the next decade brings, your life is what you make it.

Happy New Year everyone!


(Originally posted on Tumblr)

Should we routinely expect bad service from cheap tech suppliers like EBuyer?


I placed an order with Ebuyer.  I’ve used them before because they are cheap and service has never been a problem.  I decided to use them for an urgent order – I only had a one day window for delivery but they had never let me down before.  I paid their premium for next day delivery, and all the items on the list showed as allocated so I assumed the order was on track.


I waited in the next day, and started to become concerned by lunchtime that my order hadn’t arrived.  I checked the order status page and it told me that my items had been allocated, to be delivered by today (the delivery date).


I contacted E-buyer and it turns out that one of the items was out of stock despite being shown as allocated.  I had not received an email or message anywhere that would let me know that E-buyer had failed to meet the delivery schedule (agreed when the order was placed).  Had I not have contacted them myself I would have been totally unaware that my order was not proceeding as it should.


I have posted below the response I received from E-buyer.  It shows a distinct lack of accountability or responsibility for the order problems and only a passing apology for messing me about and causing me to waste a day waiting in for their delivery.


I can only advise others to proceed very carefully if they place an order with E-Buyer that they need urgently.  Clearly E-buyer have issues with their system that need to be fixed (like notifying would be buyers that their items are out of stock).  Caveat emptor!


Final word from Ebuyer

Thank you for your response.
We have developed a suite of Order Management Tools that are unique and provide you with the ability to manage your order right up to the day before delivery.
Our intent was to provide you with as much information up front to avoid confusion on how your order would be fulfilled and within what timeframe.
We wanted to make sure that the tools worked in an intuitive and
informative way to online buyers so that you knew exactly where you were every step of the way.
Upon selecting an order from the Orders screen you will be in the ‘View Order’ section. This screen will give you the overview of the order, detailing billing and shipping addresses, the order line status and price and your overall order status.
The ‘Order Progress’ tab shows you a graphical image of your order progress making it simple to understand where each part of the order is every step of the way. If a block is green then your order has passed that status successfully, if it is red then your order will need some attention from you. Each block will offer information on each status with text to explain exactly what status your order has reached.
I apologise however for any inconvenience or annoyance caused and can confirm that the order is cancelled.


Have you had a similar experience with an online company?  Should we accept poor service as the price we pay for cheap goods?   Personally I think it is possible to have both but very few companies seem to be there yet!